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North Cambridge resident challenges Rogers in 24th

Draws endorsement of Cambridge mayor

Jen Fries, 2020Jen Fries

UPDATED, May 28: North Cambridge resident and nonprofit leader Jen Fries has qualified for the ballot in the 24th Middlesex District in the Democratic primary for state representative, slated for Sept. 1.

The district spans neighborhoods in Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge, and the campaign collected ink and digital signatures in all three communities to make the ballot.

She would face state Rep. Dave Rogers, who has served the district since 2013. He is also on the ballot.

“The 24th Middlesex has been my home for 20 years, and as I crossed the district collecting signatures in February and had conversations over the phone with voters in March and April, I heard residents express many of the same hopes and frustrations that inspired me to run for office,” Fries said in an April 30 news release. “The progressive values that guide my campaign are the values of so many Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge residents, and I will fight for them as our state rep.”

Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui has endorsed Jen Fries for state representative in a ​letter​ published in The ​Cambridge Chronicle​ on May 26.

The endorsement is the first by a sitting elected official in the race for the 24th Middlesex district, which spans Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge. 

“Jen’s career has demonstrated both her dedication to direct service and her acumen for legislative advocacy to promote structural change,” Siddiqui wrote, highlighting Fries’s leadership of Cambridge School Volunteers and role in legislative advocacy campaigns with the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. Fries has made her career in nonprofit leadership a cornerstone of her campaign, arguing that her experience in educational, mentorship, legal assistance, and domestic violence nonprofits will make her an effective advocate on Beacon Hill.

Mayor Siddiqui also emphasized Fries’s commitment to effective partnerships between state and local government, writing “Now more than ever, cities and towns in Massachusetts need strong partners on the state level, and I am confident that Jen will be such a partner. I encourage you to cast your vote for her in the Democratic primary on September 1st.”

Read the full letter here >> 

Background

Fries has made transit equity a cornerstone of her campaign in the district with numerous commuters, served by MBTA buses and Red Line trains. At a campaign kickoff March 4 at Kickstand Café, she shared that delays and unreliable service on the Red Line had prompted her to find a new job that did not require a Red Line ride.

“As a single parent in 2009, I relied on public infrastructure to help me get home in time to pick up my junior kindergartner from after-school, and I found that the state of disrepair on the Red Line made this impossible” Fries explained. “I know firsthand that our transportation crisis influences the career and care-giving choices of families across the Commonwealth, and investing in and modernizing the MBTA through new revenue streams will be one of my top priorities.”

Fries has also highlighted her commitment to public education, drawing on her leadership of Cambridge School Volunteersand the ACE Mentor Program and her experiences as a public school parent and a product of public schools in Massachusetts.

She also cites the necessity of addressing and preparing for climate change, securing a just and equitable response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, fighting for debt-free public higher education, and passing the ROE Act and the Safe Communities Act as motivations for her run.

Fries emphasized that qualifying for the ballot is just the beginning of a long campaign. “I’m grateful to every voter who signed my papers to get me on the ballot,” she said “This is just the first step, and I’m looking forward to speaking with and hearing from residents across the district in the months ahead.”

Learn more about the candidate at www.jenniferfries.com.

Rogers told YourArlington later on May 1: "At this time, I am so busy responding to countless constituent needs and helping to develop policy to respond to the public health emergency that I have not been politicking.

"Once the immediate crisis is more contained, I will get you a statement."


This news announcement was published Friday, May 1, 2020, and updated May 2, to add Rogers comment. Updated May 28, to report endorsement.

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